On Racism:  Idealist and Materialist Approaches

Rich Gibson @ 1995

Hegelian Idealist Approach Dialectical-Materialist Approach
Racism is a set of ideas which denies the humanity of its targets. Racism is a system of ideas constructed and buttressed by economic and political requirements for inequality.
Racism has always existed. Racism has a history, coming into being with the rise of capitalist nations.
Racism hurts everyone as we are all in the same boat. Racism hurts most people but some profit from racism (lower wages, dividing work forces, building ideology for armed violence against other nations, etc.)
The way to eradicate racism is to change peoples' minds by appealing to higher moral codes. Opposition to racism is a matter of material interest, not missionaryism ("do-gooding").. An injury to one precedes an injury to all, that is, class solidarity,
Opposition to racism is a moral issue, that is, racism is wrong because it is unkind or unfair.
The key to white opposition to white supremacy is motivation through guilt. The key to opposition to racism is integrated movements striving for democracy and equality.
Opposition to racism from its victims must largely come through their unity as a given race. While racism is a powerful ideological system, it can be eventually erased by obliterating the social need for racism, that is, inequality in material life
Diversity and multi-culturalism, that is, pluralism, are effective ways to combat racism in that they combine the united efforts of given races with an underlying appeal to white guilt. Given that it appears the trajectory of human history is equality and democracy, and given that domination has always been met by resistance, there is hope built even within an inegalitarian system, that is, the many do not long tolerate the ideological and material oppression of the few
Pluralism is rooted in the notion of a common national (U.S.) interest.
Since racism has no particular history, transmitted mind to mind, there is a deepseated hopelessness in this position, that is, racism will always be with us. The other side of this coin is to simply declare that we have all changed our minds and that racism is no longer an issue. Hence, this is an optimistic vision of the possibilities to end racism.


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